Know your neighbourhood - 17: Begur & around
Overview: Begur is probably the last surviving village within Bangalore city limits, and most of the old houses and buildings can still be seen here. Though the coming up of many high rise apartments in the surroundings pose a threat to its existence for long. Begur has been named as Bempur, Veppur, Behur and Bevur in inscriptions. A description of a major war at Tumbepadi near Tumkur has been described in a hero stone found in Begur, which is not preserved in the Government Museum. The Panchalingeshwara temple in Begur built by the Cholas has the earliest inscriptions where the name 'Bengaluru' was found, and has been preserved by INTACH in the temple premises. A few Hero stones or Veeragallu have been found and can be seen in the temple premises. There is also a mud fort and some ancient temples of Ramalingeshwara and Venugopalaswamy in the surroundings. A headless Jain statue was also found a few years ago in Begur which indicates that Begur had been home to Jain rulers as well. Even though the areas around Begur have seen rapid development, ancient Begur can still be felt in the village centre. Another interesting story is of the 17th century St Ignatius Church which is now demolished. This was built for Thigala community who came from Tamil Nadu and later converted to Christianity.
|Panchalingeshwara temple, Begur|
|The 'Bengaluru' inscription|
|Hero Stones in Panchalingeshwara temple|
|Begur battlescene preserved at Bangalore museum|
|Veerabhadraswamy temple, Begur|
|Veerabhadraswamy temple, Begur|
The 9th century inscription found in Begur bears the name 'Bengalooru' which was not deciphered until the late 16th century. A headless statue of a Jain Teerthankara in Begur village indicates that a Jain Basadi existed here in the past but no traces of the ruins can be seen now. The feudal chief of the Gangas, Nagattara was a Jain. Inscriptions near the fort mention the sacrifice made by Nagattar’s daughter Tondabbe.
At the entrance of the village is the Grama Devathe (Village Goddess) temple of Chowdehwari with 6 Matrika images and Mahishasuramardhini. There is also an Atmabali stone outside the temple premises.
Bettadasanapura: This area is close to Begur with a forgotten fort built during Kempegowda’s rule with a small temple on the hilltop. This is perhaps the only fort with some solid remains in Bangalore today. It is said that during the time of Kempegowda, a local ruler of Bettadasanapura had a dream in which Lord Thimmaraya appeared and the ruler later renovated the temple which was originally built during the Vijayanagara rule. There is also an older Kashi Vishwanatha temple next to this.
|Chowdeshwari temple, Begur|
|Old temple, Chikka Begur|
|Old temple, Begur|
|Worn out memorial stone, Begur|
|Old Shelter huts in Chikka Begur, Begur and Bettadasanapura|
Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy temple, Roopena Agrahara: Just over the Silk Board flyover is the temple of Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy at Roopena Agrahara. This temple is also called Sri Hari Vaikuntha Kshetra and is famous for the 400 year old Narasimha Meru which is not found anywhere else in India.
|Meru at Lakshmi Narasimha temple, Bommanahalli|
Other Posts in this series:
Know your neighbourhood - 6: Banashankari
Know your neighbourhood-5: Bannerghatta Road
Know your neighbourhood-4: Malleshwaram & around
Know your neighbourhood-3: Madivala, Agara, Koramangala, Bellandur